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End in Sight for Tax Cut Debate? Senate Passes Key Bill

Photo Courtesy - Christopher Zacharow/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate  passed a bill to extend tax cuts for all Americans by an overwhelming majority after a call from President Obama Wednesday morning to send the bill "swiftly" to his desk.

The bill now moves to the House, where it faces stiff opposition from liberal Democrats who argue the president caved in too quickly to Republican demands. Wednesday morning, President Obama, continuing his campaign to pass the contested tax cut extension, had urged Congress to move quickly on the issue that has caused much rebellion within both parties.

"I'm absolutely convinced that this tax cut plan, while not perfect, will help grow our economy and create jobs in the private sector -- it will help lift up middle-class families who no longer need to worry about a New Year's Day tax hike," Obama said.

Calling the tax cuts a "critical economic package" that's "a win for middle class families," the president for the second time this week pushed lawmakers to put aside their differences.

"We can't afford to let it fall victim to either delay or defeat," he added. "I urge members of Congress to pass these tax cuts as swiftly as possible."

Before the final vote, senators voted on three proposals, all of which failed.

The votes were on a proposal by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., to pay for the cost of extending unemployment benefits with spending cuts; a plan by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., to permanently extend the tax cuts and repeal the estate tax; and a proposal by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to extend the tax cuts only for the bottom 98 percent of taxpayers and extend the Making Work Pay tax credit that was part of the stimulus plan instead of a payroll tax holiday.

Unlike in the House, the tax cut bill in the Senate garnered bipartisan support for the most part.

´╗┐Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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